A good hamburger is a thing of greasy, bloody beauty. Lambasted and mocked for its status as the junkiest of all junk-foods and its supposed representation of American imperialism, the hamburger simply does not get the recognition it deserves as a great contribution to the culinary arts.
And as a partner to good wine, well, here the humble burger does not receive much air-time, commentators preferring to discuss wines paired with exotic hunks of organically-procured wagyu beef scrotum, simmered sous vide style and drizzled with a jus made of herb-fed, spa-raised deer carcass. On the side, rocket-infused crushed Peruvian blue potatoes drizzled with white truffle oil.
The Swartland region has deservedly captured the imagination of the local and international wine world. I say this as a boer whose rootstock is still anchored in the dark, sandy hot soils of Paleisheuwel between Clanwilliam and Lambert’s Bay.
This has enabled me to relate to the hype created by the energy, enthusiasm and skill of the new generation of Swartland wine folk. All those interesting wines made from old vineyards the revolutionaries had discovered with the excitement of the early explorers entering the pyramids. The embracing of moody, harsh and enchanting landscapes presided over by leather-skinned farmer ooms straight out of Herman Charles Bosman.. Creating not only excellent wines, the wine guys and girls also developed a narrative unrivalled in uniqueness and originality on the local wine scene.
The Napoleonic episode shalt from now on be known as the Agony of Lourensford, where the words ?+¦?+º?+¦In victory you deserve it and in defeat you need it?+¦?+º?+æ are still ringing through the fynbos-covered valleys of this Helderberg Estate. Napoleon was, of course, referring to the noble elixir of Champagne, while my interpretation pertains to two very different wines. Different from Champagne, and from each other.
South Africa’s wine capital of Stellenbosch is not really having its cup runneth over with culinary hot-spots. That would be the town itself ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ the surrounding winelands have a plethora of fine places to chow-down in spectacular surroundings.
Knowing this, I was still surprised when a group of local advertising honchos suggested we meet at the relatively-recently opened Hussar Grill in Plein Street where they were planning to twist my arm into dropping a wad of cash with their media portfolio.
I must admit, this was one occasion where an advertising salesperson trying to sell adspace actually sounded interesting. “The thing with you wine people,” the lady from Die Burger’s sales-office said in a voice that could launch nuclear submarines, “is that you want everything for fuck-all.” Continue reading →
When the soap operas start getting a tad boring on the telly, one can always tap into developments at the KWV. Once an icon of the South African wine industry, the company’s brand has been wrecked by a recent series of boardroom squabbles and shareholder posturing. The latest turn of events saw CEO Thys Loubser abruptly cleaning his desk and leaving office last Friday afternoon. Continue reading →
We kissed the North goodbye, heading south from Oporto with the taste of old Port wine, Vinho Verde and braised goat in our mouths and the pungent salty aroma of the Douro in our hair. The road was long. But it was straight, and it was fast ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ “we spent too much money on roads, that’s why the country is financially tortured”, a businessman had told me in a wine bar down Gaia way.
The Portuguese waiter looked at us, nervously. “Sorry but we have run out of sardines,” he said in an accent that confirmed his three-year stint working in North London. We sat back and looked at the table. It was strewn with plates, chunks of bread and half-drunk wine glasses. Piles of sardine bones, stripped of their oily cream-coloured flesh, shimmered in the early afternoon sunlight streaming through the window.
When in doubt, say Italian. This is Peter de Wet from DeWetshof’s advice to one faced with the challenge of identifying an unknown international wine. And with so many bloody wines coming out of the Boot, it’s sage and practical counsel.
But it’s funny how in one week Italy can make a turn in one’s vinous consciousness all of three times.